Rimbaud at 40
I am arguing with Aristotle,
grafting the enthymemes of existence onto a supernatural knowledge
of the interstate,
applying a Hegelian dialectic to my sensations of international affairs.
Everything else seems distant, importune.
Police with their stupid fucking radar,
The hugged curve is no place to consider the aerodynamics of assault.
As for fiction, the most interesting (hence most ambitious) characters
are the most pathetic.
In the epistolary associations of the modern mind’s narrative,
flight is not enough.
You can mutilate a jargon, but
flight is not enough,
and it occurred to me at this point that compassion may be merely
You can mistake a pigeon
for a hawk,
but the hawks will not make the same mistake.
At some point, pants become suggestions
of past lives that no longer fit.
The bloated contemporary hangs over the belt
like a flat tire:
the body’s insurance against the starvations
of later years.
To think I used to imagine wooden coffins floating
on the ocean,
writing poems about burials at sea!
After so many years, I know
each coffin will be a seed of something, though probably
not what we expect.
What we imply in our twenties
about loss of innocence is the thinnest intuition,
thin as our abdomens
in the time before we realize we will be anything less
before the clothes we bear must strain
to flatter us.